We present hybrid derivative free algorithm methods that maximize NPV while solving the problem of placement of hydraulic fracturing stages and horizontal wellbore trajectory in a tight heterogeneous gas condensate reservoir. These parameters are important in reservoir management and field development optimization as they determine the interaction of the wellbore with the reservoir. Thus, they have a large impact on production performance of the field and the cost of field development.

We couple a tight heterogeneous gas condensate reservoir model to an optimization algorithm that determines the parameters that maximize the economic value of the field. The optimization algorithm proposed in this paper exploits the advantage of stochastic global search (particle swarm optimization) and local pattern search (hill climber) techniques to find the optimized parameters. The optimization process starts with the particle swarm optimization (PSO) algorithm, which is executed with an initial guess based on engineering experience until the objective function (in this study NPV) fails to improve in the next couple of iterations. This is followed by the hill climber (HC) algorithm that improves the objective function.

Observations from our investigation show that an optimal field development plan (FDP) is essential to optimize the placement of hydraulic fracturing stages along a horizontal wellbore and to optimize the wellbore trajectory inside the reservoir. However, these parameters would have to be optimized simultaneously in a non-systematic manner. We integrate reservoir engineering experience and economics knowledge into the optimization algorithm by embedding practical constraints into the problem formulation.

The algorithm is executed in a reasonable amount of computation time, considering the complexity of the problem. The optimization process evaluates various possible field development plans involving different hydraulic fracturing stages and well placement trajectories. The investigation demonstrates how these parameters impact the economic value of the field, how to optimize the placement of hydraulic fracture stages along a horizontal wellbore, and how to optimize the wellbore trajectory inside the reservoir.

The methodology presented in this work should allow industry professionals working with unconventional reservoirs to improve the economic value of a field in a shorter timeframe while considering all possible field development plans, a task that would be time consuming and tedious if carried out manually.

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